Here's my theory:
Everyone has an "immature button". Some people have many, others have a few or only one. There are certain things that transform an otherwise mature, fantastic human being into a jerk. Some people just cannot say "I was wrong"or "I'm sorry", but are otherwise Prince Charming. With me, it's competitiveness. I am one of the most caring and empathic people you'll ever meet, but during competition, I'd punch my grandma. Pau is 99% a flawless and amazing human being. His 1% immature button is his basketball ego. I don't mean to say that he's arrogant or that he has a super-inflated overconfident ego like a kobe or MJ. I just mean his value of himself in terms of basketball talent. Insulting that is his immature button.
Pau's decline began when Bynum emerged as the #2 option under Phil. Of course by definition, being moved from #2 to #3 option is going to lower one's numbers, I get that. Pau was professional and a team player, but there were still times where he was wildly inconsistent in terms of effort, heart and focus. He'd have lapses of terrible games and then a few amazing games like triple doubles or his perfect game. Phil is the master of egos and player personnel knowing their roles and feeling respected, so Pau was still somewhat engaged...for a while. As time grew on, even with Phil at the helm, we saw more and more head-scratching games. Was this due to fatigue and the 3 straight finals? Maybe a little bit.
Then Mike Brown comes to town. Pau is still the 3rd option, and he is still moderately engaged and effective. He had some nice games, and also plenty of head-scratchers. I think Brown really tried to play to Pau's ego and make him feel appreciated and involved, but it wasn't enough. It still irked Pau to be the 3rd option. Things got worse and worse for the team and for Pau. He had a fire under his butt in game 7 against Denver, so that showed that it wasn't about X's and O's or fatigue or anything other than something inside of him. When motivated and "wanting it" he was still a beast. Pau was used incorrectly by Brown, but not to the point that he couldn't be a beast when he was right between the ears and under the rib cage.
Now bring in MDA who makes Pau even more of a 3rd option and moves him even more out of his comfort zone. MDA isn't quite a master of managing egos, so Pau's immature button is getting smashed like crazy. By now, pau has turned into a passive-aggressive jerk. The reason is that he's a 3rd option, but it is not a valid justification IMO. Pau should be a 3rd option and he has shown to be able to still be very productive and engaged offensively and defensively, even in this offense (only a few games).
Pau CANNOT be a 3rd option any longer. His immature button is worn out and he's past the breaking point. He's 99% still a fantastic guy in all other facets of personality and life. The past few years have not been about fatigue or girlfriend issues, or coaches, or being used improperly. Those factors have played some part, for sure. The biggest factor IMO, has been the "3rd option immature button" that was pushed gently by Phil, more vigorously by Mike Brown, and now smashed by MDA. Pau's like Popeye, "That's all I can stands. I can't stands no more!"
So who is the bad guy? Is it the coaches for making him the 3rd option or by using him incorrectly? No. Pau is still capable of amazing basketball even in MDA's system, even as a 3rd option. It's on him!
“Action has meaning only in relationship; and without understanding relationship, action on any level will only breed conflict. The understanding of relationship is infinitely more important than the search for any plan of action.”